East Albany block party brings generations together - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

East Albany block party brings generations together

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August 5, 2007

Albany -- The sound of children playing echoed from the park. "I liked the party, and we had fun and we just danced," said eight-year-old Martez Thomas.

Music and the smell of barbeque on the grill came from Mulberry park Saturday afternoon. And old and new residents of East Albany just sat back catching up on the updates of everyday life.

"To see some of the kids that we grew up come back to the neighborhood, to have a big cook-out, coming together for a good cause, to see if we could get together. So much crime going on and everything we just wanted to see if we could do something good for the neighborhood," said the reunion founder, Sherman Cato. 

Unfortunately for this part of town the news isn't always good.

"Throughout the years we have had people die in the neighborhood. For example this young man's brother and a friend of mine was buried last week, but we get together to remember the people who have gone on. And try to get the kids together because its so hard on the kids," said Judge Willie Weaver. 

But the coordinators of this block party hopes this changes the usual pace here. "It's nothing but fun, its people that you see and remember from long years. I went to school with everybody out here," said Janelle Starling-Mack.

Some of the older residents can remember a time when this event wasn't even possible. "Back when I first moved here, black children weren't even allowed in the park back in 1967," Viola Thomas.

But the youth from East Albany do feel the sense of community is a welcome change. "Its a big help to see everyone come back together. People I haven't seen since back when I was younger," said Dante Jones.

The block party took a year to plan out. The committee of seven people will start planning next year's get-together Sunday.

School supplies were also passed out to the children at the block party. The supplies coming just in time for the new Dougherty school year which starts on Tuesday.

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